Encrypted communication has entered the mainstream, with consumer apps like iMessage and WhatsApp offering encryption by default. Even Facebook Messenger offers end-to-end encryption if you’re willing to dig through its menus.
But encryption is just a small piece of keeping messages safe. It protects correspondence from would-be digital eavesdroppers, but it won’t do much good if a device is lost or stolen. And encrypted messaging won’t shield data from deliberate leaks by employees.
Vaporstream lets companies protect their data with ephemeral messaging. Think Snapchat, but for corporate communications. But since companies are required by law to hold on to certain communications, Vaporstream lets them archive those messages securely before wiping them from employee devices.
“If you’re a healthcare provider, you’re dealing in information that is highly confidential,” said CEO Galina Datskovsky. “You don’t want it to linger on devices for longer than it has to. But it still must live with the patient’s record for a long time, because it’s used continuously by authorized parties.”
In setting up Vaporstream, companies can set an organization-wide expiration time for messages — say, one week. Those expiration times can be tightened for specific groups or individuals. Emergency room staff, for instance, might not need to retain messages past the end of the current shift.
In addition to text and chat services, the Vaporstream platform supports attachments like documents and images. And when users take photos within the Vaporstream app, those photos become ephemeral in the same way messages are.
This function, said Datskovsky, can be used for anything from sharing credit card information to photographing surgery.
While Vaporstream’s technology lets companies create their own message archives, Datskovsky said her company never sees or stores any user data.
“We’ll push the information to wherever they need to store it,” she said. “They fully control the data, and they can use it however they normally treat their data.”
Declining to store data protects Vaporstream from cyberattacks, she said. But it also protects the company from being pressured by third parties to share confidential information.
Founded eight years ago, Vaporstream was an early entrant into the secure messaging space. But the company pivoted to focus on B2B applications for industries like healthcare and financial services last year, Datskovsky said, unlocking a new stage of growth.
Today, Vaporstream has 22 employees, and it’s expanding its team in both technology and sales.
(Article originally published in Built in Chicago on February 20, 2018 by Andreas Rekdal)